Why Meeting for Business is Right for Friends Select

Friends Select students have long had a breadth of complaints: complaints about social developments, complaints about the administration, complaints about the actions of school committees, and complaints about Meeting for Worship, among others. In a way, our interactions with each other create a social forum to discuss and solve these problems. However, this unstructured space for discourse rarely results in real change. Students have long asked for a way to hold different groups in our school community accountable, and the answer has been under our noses the whole time: Quaker Meeting for Business.

Meeting for Business is an open forum; committees briefly present their recent work to the student body and receive feedback, suggestions, complaints, and questions. Applying this format to our community would be massively helpful to the progress of our community. The student government, long seen as a bureaucratic, private, and somewhat useless council, would be forced to show their work and prove their competence as representatives. The dress code committee, which has repeatedly failed to make a successful change in our problematic current policy, would need to show progress. If students have questions about administrative decisions, administrators would be held accountable for explaining the reason behind those judgements. Meeting for Business would serve as a programmed space for raising community concerns.

Despite its grounds in concerns, questions, and complaints, Meeting for Business is a solutions oriented activity. Every member of the school community has the floor to speak on issues with the eventual goal of reaching a consensus. This consensus will inform the decisions of our committees and administrators. Consensus does not mean we all agree on every small detail, but that we can all support the general direction of policy solutions.

At many Quaker schools and meetings, Meeting for Business is an essential part of the community’s functioning?. Meeting for Business has many aspects of our weekly meeting: it takes place in the meetinghouse and places great emphasis on community reflection. However, unlike our current meeting, students are not compelled to speak by the light; instead, they are moved to speak by a sense of duty to better the community. 

Meeting for Business would not significantly disrupt our weekly schedule. I propose it could replace Worship Sharing, a Meeting for Worship period, or one assembly block per month.